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Brighton - travel review

By Kirsten Rawlins | Travel | Published:

Looking for somewhere to get away with the family - and the pooch - this summer?

Why not take a trip down to Brighton for seaside views, lovely food and plenty of beaches for walkies.

Across Brighton more than seven beaches are 'dog-friendly'. Hounds are also allowed on the upper and lower promenades, providing they are on leads - and these are well worth a visit, with quaint beach huts, delightful sea views, and a bustling family-friendly atmosphere.

The 'dog-friendly' policy also only applies between May 1 and September 30, after which time all beaches allow pooches.

During our trip to the seaside town, we visited an array of great eateries, in which dogs were also permitted. Our favourite of these was the super friendly, contemporary New Club in Kings Road, Brighton, not far from the Odeon and overlooking the seafront.

Usually put-off by the thought of an American-themed restaurant, we were very pleasantly surprised by this lovely eatery boasting great food, wonderful views, and a delightfully cosy, contemporary interior complete with high ceilings, and a tall glass frontage.

The New Club's dinner menu is vast, but concise, offering mains ranging from crab tacos, to fried chicken, ribeye steak, burgers and salads.

For starters, I opted for the Spicy Fried Fish Open Tacos, while my partner chose the Hash Potato Bites (which is actually listed as a snack). And they were great. The tacos were something I'd never tried before - and were superb, with a vibrant wasabi mayonnaise; tasty, plentiful battered pollock and tangy, sweet pickled cabbage. The hash potato bites, meanwhile, were moist yet firm, with a slightly spicy aftertaste, complemented perfectly with the accompanying lemon mayonnaise.

For mains, I selected the Sticky Chilli Pork Belly, with a side of sweet potato fries, while my other half went for the Mexican Shredded Street Salad, with Mac 'n' Jalapeño Cheese on the side.

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The pork belly was served with roasted peanuts, an Asian-style salad with crunchy carrots, radishes and lambs lettuce, chargrilled broccoli and a chilli and garlic dressing - and it was superb. Huge in portion size (very much to my delight), deliciously different and beautifully presented.

The Mexican salad, meanwhile, was very pleasant, with 'charred corn', jalapeños, carrots, radishes and more, coated with a chipotle mayonnaise.

And the mac 'n' cheese? The cheesiest pasta dish I have ever seen, with a large amount of jalapeños hidden away under the layers of cheese, making for a very spicy surprise.

With my better half completely beaten, he opted for an exquisite Rhubarb Crumble cocktail, while I indulged in a creamy helping of ice cream in salted caramel and clotted cream flavours. And we both went away extremely full and very much satisfied.

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Another lovely eatery we visited was The Ginger Pig, which had a cool, modern interior, marble tables and peacock blue chairs. This pub/restaurant was also just a stone's throw from the seafront and dog-friendly hotel.

The top meals we ate while there was the stunning duck egg starter and the delicious guinea fowl breast main. Both were fairly small in portion size, but presented with incredible attention to aesthetic detail.

While in Brighton, we stayed at The Old Ship Hotel, overlooking the sea front and just a five-minute walk from Brighton Pier. It is a dog-friendly hotel and even provided a bed and water bowl for our little pooch.

Though the hotel was in a lovely destination, there were a fair few issues with parking and accommodation reservation mix-ups, and a lack of attention from reception staff, which really ruined the overall experience, meaning we wouldn't stay there again. We weren't overly impressed with the room either, which was spacious but fairly average; though it did have lovely views of the sea.

Its newly-opened Wardroom restaurant, on the other hand, was very nice indeed - serving divine, high quality food and with beautiful decor.

Among the delightful food we ate there was the pea and leek soup, and the jerk chicken with goat's curd for starters, and the pan fried cod, and the ribeye steak for main. And the banana mille feuille dessert was incredible.

Not only was each course perfectly put together, with gorgeous presentation and exquisitely balanced flavours, but also with generous portions.

We also took a trip to Stanmer House, which was a 20-minute drive from the hotel. This Grade One-listed country house boasts stunning scenery with acres of land, which our little dog absolutely loved. Certainly worth a walk around.

Overall a very nice weekend away; absolutely ideal for dog lovers and foodies.

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_Star

Online Entertainment Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. E-mail me kirsten.rawlins@expressandstar.co.uk, or phone 01902 319368

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